December 10 - 16, 2017: Issue 341

NSW Interbranch Championships 2017


Sunday 10 December 2017
Sydney Northern Beaches (SNB) have reclaimed the Interbranch title from rivals Sydney after a ding dong battle on the beach over two days at Stockton SLSC.

In the final wash-up there was less than 50 points between the front runners, but the story of the championships was the Hunter Branch landing a place on the podium, ending up third overall behind SNB and Sydney. The Hunter team were flying high after the result, their best in 20 years.

Far North Coast Branch finished on top of the Country pointscore and were only 37 points behind the large Central Coast team, a fantastic effort from the northern contingent.

SNB’s strength shone through in the teams events on Sunday with comprehensive wins in the Open Male Taplin, Youth Female Taplin, U12 and U13 Cameron Relays, U13 Mixed Board Relay, Youth Mixed Ski Relay, and the junior Male Board Rescue Relay.

Sydney Branch team was just as committed and came across the line first in the Youth Male Taplin, U14 Cameron Relay and Open Mixed Board Relay, and gained valuable second and third place points in more than 10 other events.

Hunter athletes were on fire on their home ground, winning the U15 Cameron Relay, Youth Mixed Board Relay, junior and senior Board Rescue Relays, U12 Mixed Board Relay and the U15 Mixed Board Relay.

Hunter Team Manager Tara Neal said they have taken a different approach this year with training. “We consulted a dietician, and a mindfulness coach and have tried to create more of a team spirit. They’ve been absolutely amazing this weekend. Cheering the team on in the Taplin at the end was the icing on the cake,” she said.

While Central Coast Branch slipped from third to fourth position this year, the team put in some commendable performances taking out the Open Mixed Ski Relay, Open Female Taplin, Open Female and Male Rescue Tube Rescue.

Far North Coast were very pleased finishing hot on the heels of the Central Coast Branch. “We’re really stoked, getting closer to the city clubs and Central Coast, it’s really lifting for the team,” said co-captain Luke Chaffer.

“We’re looking to come back bigger and better next year,” he said.

The Lower North Coast’s best result of the final day was a comprehensive second in the Open Mixed Ski Relay.

The NSW Director of Surf Sport, Don van Keimpema, thanked the Stockton club and the Hunter Branch for hosting the Championships this year and congratulated all the athletes, team managers, coaches and officials for their efforts.

“We’re hoping to build this event to be one of the premier events in the state. The team environment we had this weekend was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

He said the performances this weekend had impressed the state selectors and the NSW Team will be announced in the coming days.

At the conclusion of the carnival the venue for the 2018 Interbranch Championships was announced as Black Head SLSC on the Lower North Coast from 8-9 December.

SNB - 1220
SYD - 1176
HUN - 1051
CC - 976
FNC - 939
ILL - 758
SC - 553
NC - 540
MNC - 484
FSC - 334
LNC - 254

By Surf Life Saving New South Wales


Saturday 9 December 2017
The traditional rivalry between Sydney and Sydney Northern Beaches (SNB) is alive and well after Day 1 of the NSW Interbranch Championships.

After a great day on the water and the beach at Stockton near Newcastle, the Northern Beaches powerhouse is ahead of the title holder Sydney, with Hunter Branch in third and Central Coast fourth.

In the beach events, SNB led the charge early with wins across all age groups, including a stellar performance by Josh Gedz from the Manly club who took out both the U13 Beach Flag and Beach Sprint events.

Despite the claim she is getting too old for sprinting, Laura Shorter (Newport) came across the line first in the Open Female Sprint and her team mate and partner Blake Drysdale claimed the prize in the Open Men’s Beach Flags. The only disappointment of the day for the SNB beach team was losing the lead and coming fourth in the Senior Beach Relay after a botched baton change.

In the water area, team captain Max Brooks from Newport came home hard to win the Open Ironman, while his team mate Naomi Scott from Manly crossed the line first in the Women’s event.

At the other end of the age range, Connor Maggs from Manly had a great first outing, recording wins in both the U12 Ironman and Board races and second in the Surf Race.

The Newport twins Mitchell and Jake Morris were one and two in the U13 Ironman and Kimberley Doyle from Manly added to the tally in the Female Iron event.

There’s not much in it though, with Sydney branch trailing by just a handful of points, with anything possible going into Day 2.

Lucy Flanagan (Nth Cronulla) won the double with the U14 Beach Sprint and Beach Flags while club mate Alex Rampoldi took out the Youth Beach Flags. Their club mate Will Budd came first in the Open Male Board and second in the Open Ironman.

Nth Bondi’s Noah Harvard won the Youth Male Ski Race while Wanda’s Elyssa Pierce was first in the Open Female Board and Surf Race.

Hunter Branch is stoked to be heading into Day 2 in third spot, after blitzing many of the water events in the younger age groups and winning plenty of water teams events, boosting their overall standing in the pointscore.

Nick Stoddart (Swansea Belmont) and Bella Williams (Cooks Hill) dominated the U15 Ironperson racing. Other notable wins were recorded by Saxon Coates in the U15 Surf Race and young Zara Foran won the U12 Surf and Iron races.

Nicola Owen (Redhead) came across the line first in the Youth (U17) Surf and Board Races while Tiana Sargeant (Cooks Hill) won the U12 Board Race in her first representative hitout.

It will be an exciting finish to the 2017 NSW Interbranch Championships with Day 2 sure to see some movement among the branches on the leader board. Sydney will be staging a big effort to knock SNB off the top and the Hunter Branch is keen to go one better than last year and cling to its coveted third place, especially on home turf.

SNB - 1010
SYD - 973
HUN - 855
CC - 790
FNC - 761
ILL - 639
SC - 473
NC - 458
MNC - 421
FSC - 286
LNC - 238

By Surf Life Saving New South Wales

Stockton Gears Up For Interbranch Championship

Thursday 7 December 2017
There’s the unmistakable sense of excitement in the air as surf lifesavers from all 11 NSW Surf Life Saving Branches finalise their preparations for the opening representative surf sport event of the summer which will be held this weekend.

Stockton Beach will be the venue for the 2017 Interbranch Championship with the Hunter Club delighted to be hosting this prestigious carnival for the first time since 2002.
A decade and a half may have passed since those heady days, but the Interbranch Championship still maintain a special place on the surf sports calendar.

While only a maximum of 40 athletes from each branch, consisting of three male and female competitors in the Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15, Under 17, Under 19 and Open age groups who compete in both ocean and beach events, selections must be strategic.

With a limited number of athletes contesting each event, points will be at a premium during the two-day carnival, and finishing on the podium for their branch will be crucial in deciding who gets to take home the ultimate prize, and versatility is a skill that is highly valued.

For the athletes themselves, performances are crucial with this weekend being their last opportunity to impress selectors to be named in the NSW Interstate team to travel to South Australia in January.

After regaining the title at The Lakes SLSC last summer, Sydney Branch are confident of earning their second straight trophy. But their rivals from the other side of the Harbour Bridge won’t let them have it all their own way.

Both Sydney and Sydney Northern Beaches have named experienced sides.
Carla Papac, Ngaire Hadfield (Cronulla), and Riley Dixon and Keira Warn (Wanda) will be out to bring their club form to their Branch side, while Northern Beaches captains Laura Shorter and Max Brooks will lead the charge for their team along with Manly duo Naomi Scott and Jay Furniss who are no strangers to this level of competition.

After 6 years of finishing third and fourth in the overall standings, both the Central Coast and Hunter teams will enter this year’s competition confident of ending the Sydney juggernaut, while Illawarra will also fancy their chances.

Hunter in particular have named a very strong squad with Bella Williams (Cooks Hill) and Nick Stoddart (Swansea Belmont) who are in the U15s, both National Youth Champions. Redhead SLSC competitors Nicola Owen, Lily Costello, and Daniel Collins are also expected to perform strongly.
The Central Coast will be boosted by the return of Tim Schofield (Terrigal), and Umina duo Rachel Wood and Jemma Smith who are all lining up for their branch after their highly successful trip away with the Australian Life Saving Team earlier this month.
One of the real strengths of this competition is that it gives up-and-comers the chance to race alongside the more experienced athletes, and gives the U12s their first taste of high level competition.

The athletes from the Country Branches (Far North Coast, North Coast, Mid North Coast, Lower North Coast, South Coast, and Far South Coast) will be using the event as their last chance to tune up against their larger rivals before attention switches to February’s Envirobank Country Championships which will be held at South West Rocks.

Surf Life Saving NSW Sports Coordinator Luke Stigter is anticipating a highly competitive weekend of racing.

“Interbranch is always a tough event with every Branch determined to do their best and score crucial points over their rivals. It’s always hard to predict a winner.

“At the end of the day it’s a great chance for all the Branches to come together and we’re looking forward to getting to Stockton and seeing what the athletes can do,” said Mr Stigter.

By Surf Life Saving New South Wales


With summer officially here, lifesavers across the state are dusting off their competition caps for another busy season of surf sport.
The hard work in training has been done with athletes of all ages and abilities blowing out the cobwebs with a number of club competitions giving them the chance to test their skills both in the water and on the beach.

With these early season hit-outs now complete, competitors can look forward to some of the biggest events on the NSW surf sport calendar.
The representative season gets under way in December with the 2017 Interbranch Championships which will be hosted by Hunter Branch at Stockton Beach.

All 11 branches are expected to field strong teams with defending champions Sydney being among the first to release their squad.

In the New Year athletes from outside the Hunter-Illawarra corridor can look forward to the 2018 Envirobank Country Championships which will again be held at South West Rocks.

Taking place on the first weekend in February, a full program of events from U8s to Masters categories will be held along with the tradition and colour of the March Past.

In history all roads led to Rome and this season those roads will lead to Swansea Belmont  with the pinnacle of the NSW surf sport season, the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, to be contested on Blacksmiths Beach in March for the second year in a row.

Information regarding the season’s major championship events is available on the SLSNSW website with competitors and clubs urged to check back regularly for updates on things like closing dates for entries and the process for ordering your lycra competition vests.

Those athletes competing at the highest level will have a full schedule leading into 2018.

Terrigal’s Tim Schofield and Umina’s Rachel Wood are hitting the pool after being named in a 10-strong national squad that will contest the German Cup before heading to the Netherlands for the Orange Cup (December 2-3).

As the Central Coast pair take to the pool in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, 18,000 kilometres away at Mount Maunganui in New Zealand at the DHL International Surf Rescue Challenge, their teammates will be doing their best to capture another trophy.

Six NSW athletes were named in that squad in September.

Newport trio Georgia Miller, Jake Lynch, and Blake Drysdale will be joined on tour by Kendrick Louis (Manly), and young-guns Jemma Smith (Umina) and Lizzie Welborn (North Bondi) are all making the trip across the Tasman.

At the forefront of every representative athlete’s mind this season is that every camp, every tour is an opportunity to put their name on the selectors’ radar for the World Lifesaving Championships in Adelaide late next year.

The chance to wear the green and gold on home turf is a powerful motivator for our top NSW athletes.

Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon is excited about the season ahead.

“There is a lot to look forward to for all athletes this season and we strongly encourage more members to get involved in surf sports, no matter your experience or skill level.

“Surf Sports is a great way to keep fit and have fun with your mates. It’s always a pleasure to see the inter-generational aspect of the sport, with parents often training with their kids, and sometimes grand-kids,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the very best of luck for the season ahead and we look forward to welcoming you at a local or major sport event.”

By Surf Life Saving New South Wales